Researching the company you are applying at is mandatory—you have to know something about the situation before meeting with a hiring manager or human resources person. With the availability of online material, there is no reason you shouldn’t have an understanding (even a small one) of the corporate culture prior to an interview.
However, there are some things even the best research cannot tell you; among them employee attitudes and job satisfaction among potential co-workers. That makes it necessary to pay attention to everything during an interview—from the second you walk in the door.
Seven details to follow when you arrive for an interview—the little things that could make a difference when deciding if a job is certainly for you:
- How employees interact with management and each other.
How are employees getting along? Is it relaxed and comfortable, or is it stiff and formal? There is a “vibe” in the ways people go about their day. Noticing this Interaction is one of the best indicators of whether you will see yourself as a good fit.
- The mood of the office.
Speaking of “vibes,” the mood of an office can go either way—subtle or severe. An overpowering tone is rarely a healthy sign and often high-strung workplaces arise from many sources—overbearing management, tough deadlines and the like. If that is for you—great! For others, it may not the best setting to excel.
- The way the phones are answered.
Answering the phones is a key factor in the business culture. Does it seem forced or robotic and scripted, or is it with a twinkle in their voice? For most customers, the phone call is the first interaction they have with a company; people answering the phones should genuinely enjoy what they are doing and where they are doing it.
- Employee body language.
When employees walk around the office, is there a spring in their step or is it something akin to a death march? Little things make the difference, like making eye contact or smiling as you walk by. People who do not like their place of work often give small telltale signs, even though they are outwardly friendly. Sometimes their body language can belie an unhappy worker—and a place you want to avoid.
- The pace of the office environment.
A professional workplace is always busy; workers buzzing around and productive. A lackluster speed means something stale and uninspired. You may think that your presence will stimulate the energy level of the office, but it is just as likely they will pull you down with them. Be careful when considering a place that moves at too slow of a place.
- The physical office environment.
Engaged employees care about their surroundings—its cleanliness and the little touches that make it more comfortable. A good employer encourages people to take ownership of their surroundings, allowing employees to customize their individual work areas. Neat, clean common rooms, offices and cubicles are likely to have more positive workers—and you could be one of them.
- Employee dress.
You may be expecting an office where formal or business casual clothes are the norm, but if the daily dress code is shorts and flip-flops, it may not be a place where you fit in. Look at where you are in your career, and if you are willing to work in a super-casual place, it may be right.